Sunday, May 18, 2008

Loan Forebearance - Lender Phone Operators Are Clueless!

Yesterday I sat down with a pre-foreclosure client interested in keeping her home. The lender/Loan servicer was Ocwen Bank. As I sat and talked with her about options - we discussed a forebearance program. She thought this sounded like a good option so she pulled out her most recent mortage statement and called the lender. Of course - the back of their statement says something like - if you're behind in your payments call our collections department and talk to one of our payment counselors. Yeah, right. Nevermind the 20 minutes it took to get to the right person. 3 or for transfers later - we think she got the right department. Problem was - the person on the other end of the phone said there was no forebearance program. That's right. When asked three times "Do you have a forebearance program"...the anser kept coming back "NO".

After a quick search on the web - I found several references on Ocwens website to their success in customer forebearance. Ocwen even boasts a 70% success rate for people put on forebearance over the last 2 years. When dealing with these large banks - you have to remember that the person answering the phone probably doesn't know much more about the company than you do. They sit in an office, charged witha particular task. If you don't fit the mold - they often don't know what to do with you. YOU MUST BE PERSISTENT. And it's going to take time. If you aren't getting anywhere - ask to talk to a supervisor.

Lenders always have a dedicated department that works with borrowers behind in payments. Don't bother with collections - they will just try to get a payment out of you. And forget that generic 800#. Even if, by some miracle - you actually get through to a live person, they will have no idea what you are talking about. They will just transfer you somewhere else - anywhere else!

Document who you talk to. Ask for a name each time you call. note the time you talked to them. Ask what department they are in. Ask where the call center is. In one call - you could be transferred to different departments in different states.

If you're having a problem communicating with your lender, put it in writing. Most people aren't aware of a RESPA rule that requires a lender to respond to your written inquiry. RESPA stands for Real Estate Settlement & Procedures Act. RESPA spells out particular rules for how real estate deals and loans must be handled. For exmaple, RESPA states that if you write to your lender regarding an innacuracy on your account or to dispute charges - they must acknowledge receipt of your letter in 20 days and respond with an answer within 60days. The best way to ensure this kind of communication is to send a certified letter to your lender. That way you have proof.

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; The world is full of educated derilicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.......Calvin Coolidge, US President 1923-1929

1 comment:

Lee T. Doria said...

I agree 10% on persistence. Whom you talked to today is different tomorrow. Don't give up. Take no for an answer